a fifth home for the holidays

WARNING: This post contains absolutely nothing inappropriate, just excessive photos of diapers and baby formula—all for a good purpose.

I haven’t been able to wipe the silly grin off my face since donations started rolling in as the result of “Dorothy’s Match” for Babies of Juarez. Every single dollar given was matched—not just the first thousand—and when all was said and done, we had $4,500 to spend!


This was the first sight to behold as we walked in the Andersons’ house down in Gilbert, AZ.


And around the corner, this!


Surplus boxes in another room. $2,250 worth of diapers. All ordered and delivered (free) through Amazon Prime!

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$2,250 worth of formula was a more manageable size, so off to Costco we went with the Andersons’ biggest vehicle. We got some stares and comments, as you might imagine.

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If we count moving the formula from Costco shelf to cart as one and from cart to car as two, this is the third “handling” of the supplies as all hands on deck* move it from car to garage. (*Note a casted foot does not exempt one from entering in, not that he’d have chosen to sideline.)


The following evening, the formula is first in the trailer, and the fourth handling so far. Veteran loader Dusty understands the importance of weight distribution.

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The diapers require the bucket brigade method.




Father/son team up (Neil’s identity hidden).

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After the seven-hour drive to El Paso, we meet up with the rest of the team (39 in all!) and move everything from the U-Haul to the mission trailer. Diaper boxes are broken down so the smaller packs can more easily fit around other donations and gifts for the family we’ll build for.

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Still counting—this is handling #5.


Later in the day and across on the Mexico side, the trailer is unloaded. (Handling #6)




All of the donations make a stopover at the photo staging area, carefully sorted, labels facing forward.

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A sight to behold.


A final “handling” — #7! — hauled by team members the final 1oo yards to the specially built storage room.




While all of those other steps are fun, this is by far the funnest! Participating in the camaraderie of filling these shelves might be responsible for a permanent grin on my face.


The joy of this task was never lost on six-year-old Owen.


And just look what all* of you donors accomplished! (*not only Dorothy’s Match) From here, supplies will be distributed on a monthly basis as mothers come on a specified date to receive based on need.


Thank you! Thank you!

YES . . . we also built a house. Here are some of the highlights of our fifth Thanksgiving build.



The beginning. Meet the family, then form a prayer circle on the already-poured foundation. We always love the shadows.



Two compulsory photos that will form a series one of these years.


Alfonso, Jr, meets our Brynn. A little too young for friendship.

John Macy set his phone to take this fast action of raising the walls.


The roof is next.


Sage and Brynn work on their hammering skills.


Brynn and I take a walk, looking for the beach (one of her favorite words). I didn’t try very hard to convince her we probably weren’t going to find one any time soon.


Finishing up the first morning’s work, Neil and Randee (Dusty’s parents) survey the progress.


The afternoon serendipity—showing up at Jasmine’s job. We built a house three years ago for her and her two sons.


After a short visit we drove on to her house to see the boys.


Fidencio clearly remembered us, especially his buddy Dusty. Cerebral palsy still inhibits his ability to walk, but at least he can see better now.


Alvieri, so bright-eyed and handsome and affectionate.


Jasmine’s sister looks after Jasmine’s new daughter and the boys while she works from 2 to 10 p.m. six days a week.


At the end of the food outreach we offer activities to the kids and any grown-ups who want to join in. I was happy to grab my camera in time to capture this boy’s delight at the spinner he just made. (Thank you, Pinterest, for the idea!)


Another future series…Dusty and a babe.


All the extra activity has this little one outside in the crisp air.


Marissa gets started the next morning!


I won’t confess how many pictures I took of these two painting a house in Juarez, Mexico. Such a joyful thing to watch these littles join in.


Cassidy figures she’s done this around 30 times already.


These cousins have been photographed together for 40+ years.


More cousins painting together.


Three gens!


The baño paint crew.


One final paint pic—Yisel (new home owner) steadies the platform while Randee reaches the high spots.



Meanwhile, inside, the drywall, mudding, caulking, and window trim.



Three gens — the Anderson men.


Family selfie.


The older set.


The dedication—always a highlight. We get to offer blessings and the family can speak to us. It’s an emotional time; in this shot Verenice had just said thank you for their house and after translation added, “God bless you.”

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John caught this moment as we gathered around the family (minus the dad, who had to work) to pray.


THEN the joyful moment when the family goes inside to discover all the extras they weren’t expecting. We always try to raise funds above the cost of the house to provide furnishings and clothes and household items.


Yisel sees her new bed with lovely bedding and bedspread. It was a lot to take in.


At the evening church service she recognizes God’s provision for her family (and Alfonso could join in the gratitude).


One final serendipity—getting to visit with Sandra and a couple of her children. We built for Sandra’s family two years ago. She was expecting her 8th child and has since added a 9th to the family. Krista makes good use of her Spanish to communicate with them. I record the event, which requires no language.


Along with all of the first team from five years ago, members of the Spanish Club from Gilbert Christian High School and their teachers joined the team this year, as did several Spanish Club parents and two sets of family friends. It’s always surprising how quickly we learn each other’s names and begin to feel like family, unified by this one significant goal. It’s a blessing I will never take for granted.

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3 Responses to a fifth home for the holidays

  1. gkoskela says:

    Great to see the results of your labor of love again! Wonderful.

  2. Ridgely says:

    Well done, good and faithful servants!

  3. Pingback: a sixth home for the holidays | a little bit of this and a little bit of that

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